ORICA-GreenEDGE put two riders in the top ten overall at the Eneco Tour after seven days of racing in Belgium and the Netherlands. Daryl Impey ended the week in fifth place, 55” behind Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) who won both the final stage and the overall. Pieter Weening slotted into eighth place, 1’34 behind the Czech overall victor.
“For me, it was a successful race for the team,” said Sport Director Laurenzo Lapage. “We had two riders in the top ten in another WorldTour event. The results are good and the work done was great. I saw the team working really well together, and for me, this can be the most important thing. I’m proud of the spirit we have on this team.”
The early break included some serious firepower. André Greipel (Lotto Belisol), Giacomo Nizzolo (RadioShack-Leopard-Trek), Ian Stannard (Team Sky), Manuele Boaro (Saxo-Tinkoff), Julian Kern (Ag2r La Mondiale), Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step), Ruben Perez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil-DCM) slipped away from the bunch in the opening kilometres. Argos-Shimano controlled the pace for overnight race leader Tom Dumoulin. As the leaders stretched out their advantage beyond five minutes, Aidis Kruopis took part in the chase.
“We did not put anyone in the break because my idea was to keep the guys together until the last 30-40km,” said Lapage. “I knew we would need numbers the second time over the Muur to help out our leaders Daryl Impey and Pieter Weening. Everyone did his job today. Aidis Kruopis worked early with Argos-Shimano not to make the gap too big for the 11 leaders.”
Lampre-Merida and Astana also contributed to the chase, and as the gap tumbled in the second to last hour of racing, Stannard jumped away from the break. Greipel and Ligthart bridged across to the Brit who distanced them again, disposing first of Ligthart over the Denderoordberg and then of Greipel on the Kapelmuur.
“We had bad luck with Pieter around this time,” explained Lapage. “He had a double puncture just before the second time over the Muur. Jens Mouris did a great job in bringing him back.”
Weening rejoined the bunch as the action continued to intensify. Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) launched the first significant attack but was unable to follow when Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) and Daniel Oss (BMC) blasted by him. Wilco Kelderman (Belkin) bridged across to Chavanel and Oss, and the trio hit the top of the Kapelmuur with a distinct advantage.
“Sebastian Langeveld did his job to bring back the move with Chavanel,” explained Lapage. “After he caught them, Durbo [Luke Durbridge] took some turns on the front. I can’t name one guy who did the best today. It was a great team effort.”
Before the peloton could reach Stannard, Stybar launched an attack on the Denderoorber. The cyclocross superstar quickly made his way across to Stannard. The duo held off the chasing field with Stybar besting Stannard in the two-up sprint. With the stage win, Stybar took the overall victory by 26” over Dumoulin.
Weening came in with a chase group of three to finish in fifth place on the stage and jump up one spot on the overall. Daryl finished 12” behind Weening in sixth place on the stage to retain his hold on fifth in the general classification.
“We must accept that the strongest guy won the race,” said Lapage. “We did everything we could. Daryl and Pieter both had great rides today.”